by Henry Neufeld, Energion Publisher
A couple of months ago I sent out an e-mail to a few of the people whose advice I count on regarding the slogan we use on the Energion Publications web site: Educate! Energize! Empower! I asked them whether we should keep it or change it. I’ve been told a number of times that those are buzzwords that have no real meaning. The general consensus was that I should keep the slogan as it is.Buzzwords get used so much that they begin to lose meaning, but one of the reasons they get overused is that they have very important meanings. I agree with the people who told me we should keep these words. Let me expend just a few words defining them as I use them.
No matter what doctrinal or ethical positions they take, many in the church are not well informed as to their faith and the world around them. In order to carry out the mission of the church, there are things we need to know. Unfortunately, many of us who are church members are there because we grew up that way. It’s habit. We wonder why we cannot attract new people to the church. Part of that reason is that we don’t really know why we are there ourselves.
The educational mission of Energion Publications is to help us understand both our own faith and that of people around us. We occasionally also use the slogan Scholarship in Service. That slogan tells something of the method. We aim to find authors who will bring the benefits of good biblical and theological scholarship and make it available to the church as a whole. Wonderful ideas die useless deaths when confined to the halls of academia.
As we educate, we aim to motivate and inspire people to action. We pursue this aim by looking for authors who are active in benefiting their church and community, those whose ideas grow out of a living experience and in turn give birth to action. Ideas and values are important; putting them into action is imperative.
By empowerment, we mean that accepting ideas and choosing actions are the privilege, responsibility, and indeed the joy of everyone. Neither we, in choosing what to publish, nor our authors in writing, take away the responsibility of all readers to study and decide for themselves.
To illustrate what I mean I want to quote from a manuscript I’m currently editing, Meditations on the Letters of Paul by Dr. Herold Weiss:
Paul trusts the ability of his audience to use their minds and reason properly. He writes, “I speak as to sensible [thinking] men; judge for yourselves what I say” (1 Cor. 10: 15). After having had a serious disagreement with the Corinthians, he writes to them, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are holding to your faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you?— unless indeed you fail to meet the test! I hope you will find out that we have not failed [to meet the test to which faith is to be put]” (2 Cor. 13: 5 – 6). Paul does not wish to have others evaluate the Corinthians as to their faith. Neither is he going to do it himself. He trusts the ability of all those who live in Christ to test themselves. He also expects them to evaluate the reasonableness of what he tells them. Their judgment is valid.
Dr. Weiss is talking about the way Paul approaches his audiences, of course, but we extend this same idea of empowerment. We don’t want to force an agenda on the church. Readers, students, friends, brothers and sisters are all able to make their own decisions. Advocate and exhort, yes! But trust in the Holy Spirit in each person for the decision.
How Does This Apply to the Energion Discussion Network?
Yes, it’s time to get to the point. You’ll see a new theme. By some time tomorrow you can expect an improved comment section including better e-mail management for our subscribers. You’ll also notice a change in the way we schedule posts. Rather than irregular scheduling, we’re asking some of our authors to dedicate the time to produce regular articles, some every two weeks, and some every month. We will still have additional articles by our other authors who are not committed to a regular schedule.
We’re asking these authors to educate, energize, and empower, just as they do with their books. We’re asking those who aren’t contributing regularly to comment on posts, write posts on their own blogs, and also to provide occasional posts to provide the fullest possible examination of issues that confront the church today.
Please read, study, discern. Give others the benefit of your wisdom and discernment through comments or through posts on your own blog. Don’t hesitate to provide a link if you blog about one of our topics. Relevant links are welcome!
Test everything. Keep hold of what is good. Keep away from every variety of evil. – 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22
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